Books you need to read

After suggesting books piecemeal to some friends, I realized I should put out a list so everyone can benefit, not just people I know! So, here's a list of books on cerebral palsy that I recommend*:

Kids Beyond Limits
by Anat Baniel

This book is absolutely a must-read for any parent, but particularly for parents of special needs children. It is by the founder of the Anat Baniel Method, the primary methodology we use with Malachi and I highly recommend it. You can read a full review here: REVEIW: Kids Beyond Limits.

The Brain that Changes Itself
by Norman Doidge

Every parent of a brain-injured child should read this book — no, scratch that: Anyone with a brain should read this book. It gives uplifting stories about scientists willing to reexamine the mechanical view of the human body and the patients they help to overcome the odds. 
The most important lesson to take from this book is that the human brain is always plastic. It doesn't matter if you're 8 or 80, you can still learn new things and that is because the human brain doesn't stop developing — ever
I think often of the story of a boy with CP who didn't receive intensive therapy until age 4 who went on to help his Little League team to a national title.

Teaching Motor Skills to Children with Cerebral Palsy
by Sieglinde Martin

When I got this book I said: "Oh! That's why he moves like that," and: "Oh! That's why rolling over is so important." This book tells you what PTs should or would if they had the time and the eloquence to do so. 
The frank truth is that physical therapy once a week is not enough — it has to be incorporated into your everyday life in how you touch and move your child. This book helps you do that and gives you the knowledge to push your therapists for more!
One more wonderful aspect is that it gives a "Roadmap to Independence," including pictures showing children in the various stages that are necessary for developing the skills for walking.

Uncommon Voyage
by Laura Shapiro Kramer

This book was very healing for me in that it was the first account I read of a mother of a child with CP and helped me feel that I wasn't alone. There are so many similarities between Malachi and her son that I have a hard time not expecting Malachi to be exactly the same way when he grows up!
This book also talks a lot about alternative therapies (such as Feldenkrais/ABM, Flexys, homeopathy and Cranial Osteopathy) so it's great for people who are looking for more than what the medical establishment has to offer.
More than any other account I've read since, Kramer was able to give detailed information on how her son moved as he progressed through his development — another fascinating aspect of this book.

You Will Dream New Dreams
by parents of children with special needs

To be honest, I haven't finished reading this book, but I already feel like it should be offered to every parent who discovers their child will have a disability. (Are you listening March of Dimes?) I really wonder how much easier my initial acceptance process would have been if I'd had it.
I often think of Gov. Dick Thornburgh's opening piece in which he says of his brain-injured son that he is proud to show off what he has accomplished instead of ashamed of his deficiencies.

Being the Other One
by Kate Strohm

Although this book is mostly geared toward teenage or adult siblings of people with disabilities, this is a good book for parents to read. However, I might suggest parents skip through to the "Strategies" section as the first half of the book is siblings griping about how awful and scary it was for them. I can imagine how cathartic that would be for people who weren't allowed to ask questions or express negative feelings about their sibling, but as a parent it's rather depressing. What is helpful is reminders about the way children think and things they might be afraid of, such as that it's their fault, or that they could contract it, too. For all the work we do for our differently abled child(ren), we need to make sure not to ignore the needs of our other child(ren).

Someone Special, Just Like You
by Tricia Brown and Fran Ortiz

This is a great book that I wish every preschool/elementary school class would read. It has beautiful pictures of children with disabilities doing every day things and the text helps children see what they have in common instead of how they are different. I get choked up every time I read it to my boys.

Children with Cerebral Palsy
by Elaine Gerais

I got this book free from my local chapter of United Cerebral Palsy, so check before you buy to make sure yours doesn't offer it. 
WARNING: Do not read this book from cover to cover! It will make you depressed because the first several chapters are lists of all the horrible things that your child might face as part of this disorder — and for some reason even the relatively benign ones feel much scarier when associated with the label ("omg, you mean he could be constipated??")
But, it is a useful resource to look up terms medical people don't properly explain and it has a few nice chapters on what you can expect home and family life to be like.

A Twist of Fate
by Shasta Kearns Moore

Hmm... which of these books is not like the others? :) Ok, you caught me, this is my book. It's not about cerebral palsy, but it is a fun read and lots of people love it! If you like my writing already, why not try it out?
The plot is about a cosmic error that rotates three women — a Manhattan stripper, an Orange County gold merchant’s daughter, and a slumdog in Mumbai — into each others’ lives. They soon find the personality traits and skills that were getting them into trouble in their own lives are remarkably better suited to their counterpart’s life. But in a second rotation these same traits lead them straight to death’s door!“A Twist of Fate,” is a story about how aspects of your character, your upbringing — and even your clothes — that are liabilities in certain situations can be incredible assets in others.
Check it out!

*Clicking on the links here will send you to and I will get a small portion of your purchase price. However, I was not asked to review these books and simply offer them as information that has been useful to me.

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